Tuesday, May 26, 2020

"Counting the Days" in isolation

"Counting the Days" is a 50-day video series created by the Rev. Jacqueline Soltys of Grace Church, Yorktown. Soltys was inspired to create the series during this period of isolation. "I wanted a way to connect with the parish during this time of separation, a way to mark our time apart, and to create a shared experience," she explains.
Creating a daily video for 50 days is a significant commitment. "I think of the videos as a spiritual discipline --a form of focused prayer and discernment for me. They require me to face this time honestly and intentionally, to be awake and present to the ups and downs of each day," Soltys said. "They are also a pledge to the people I serve. I want to be in conversation with them every day, to show them that I'm here and with them, going through this experience, too."
Each video includes a psalm, a domestic reflection on the day and a blessing. Why the psalms? "They are an easy way to count, since they are numbered.  If I were musically trained, maybe I would have chosen a hymn to sing every day, and I would have sung my way through the hymnal," Soltys explained. "The psalms are an important touchpoint for me personally.  I had a profound mystical experience of God's presence through praying the psalms every day many years ago.  It is one of the experiences that led me to the priesthood.  It just felt right to pick them up again now as a place to find God and as a way to ride this roller coaster of emotions that we are all on."
While Counting the Days series has ended (you can watch them all here), Soltys now has a new project, Pause: An Invitation to Stillness. These are weekly videos she's making in collaboration with Grace Church parishioners. Each weekly video is made up of prayers, Scripture, poetry, music, and simple images. It's not just for Episcopalians; it could be helpful to anyone looking for a few minutes of peace and refuge. You can view those on the Grace Church YouTube channel.